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"Dog Soldiers" (Blu-ray)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: First Look
Genre:
Horror
Release Date:
5/6/09
Special Features:

Trailers

Review:

You definnitely don't want the hair-of-the-dog that bit you in "Dog Soldiers". Or maybe you will want some. It certainly won't hurt any more than the "dog's" that bite you in this fhorror flick. Neil Marshall's "Dog Soldiers" takes a standard situation and turns it inside out. Six soldiers commanded by Sgt. Harry Wells (Sean Pertwee "Event Horizon")go out into the Scottish wilderness on an exercise. They arrive to discover a single survivor from a special ops team (Liam Cunnigham)who has had his forces deceimated. "There was supposed to be only one!" is all he will say initially. Cooper (Kevin McKidd "Rome", "Kingdom of Heaven")must lead his group when Wells is injured. They must run for their lives and find some place they can hole up. ***

It turns out that the soldiers are being hunted by a pack of werewolves. ***

A clever, intense thriller "Dog Soldiers" makes references to classic films such as "Night of the Living Dead", "Evil Dead" and other horror films. It's well made and intense with great performances from a largely unknown (to America) cast. I saw part of this on Sci-Fi but didn't know what it was called or what it was about. Luckily I rediscovered it on DVD and caught it the second time around from beginning to end. By the end of the film you may be baying at the moon like the creatures in this clever horror flick.Unlike "An American Werewolf in London" or "The Howling" (two superior horror films from the last thirty years the former is filled with off-beat humor the latter is droll), "Dog Soldiers" eschews humor in favor of non-stop action and horror. ---

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray looks quite good but it isn't a huge step up from the DVD so if you already have this, you may want to think about buying something else on Blu-ray. Although the transfer here is better than the previous release you sacrifice all the special features. The new Blu-ray looks quite good but the film always has looked a little rough. The new high def transfer tends to show the limitations of the digital video the film was shot on.

Special Features:

The original DVD had the following extras NONE of which are included on the Blu-ray.

Director, Cast and Crew Commentary

Producer's Commentary

Deleted scenes

"Making of" Dog Soldiers

Gag Reel

B Roll footage

Storyboards

Photo Gallery

Theatrical trailers ***

I suspect this probably had more to do with licensing issues although can't say for certain. If that is the case, it would have been nice to at least get the informative commentary track (where the director points out a scene where you can a werewolf falling through a window and if you look carefully you can see his tennis shoes which are visible beneath the werewolf feet). ---

Although Marshall's feature film debut isn't as good as "The Descent", it's better than "Doomsday" because while it's derivative, Marshall throws in memorable character moments and takes a clever premise executing it quite well. Despite a low budget for the creatures the film works quite well although the first suspense filled half where we don't see the werewolves is stronger than the second half. ---

Final Words:

"Dog Soldiers" is an inventive genre film with a clever premise and often turns horror film cliches and flips them making them at least seem fresh. A well made suspenseful film, "Dog Soldiers" may be worth the upgrade to Blu-ray IF you didn't purchase the previous edition and it is pretty inexpensive for a Blu-ray BUT be aware that you'll be losing all the special features which are not carried over. ***

(PLEASE NOTE THAT I WAS PROVIDED WITH REVIEW COPIES OF BOTH THE NEW DVD AND BLU-RAY AND COMPARED THEM TO MY PREVIOUS EDITION WATCHING SELECTED SCENES FROM A SONY BLU-RAY PLAYER, PANASONIC DVD PLAYER WITH UPSCALE CAPABILITY).

 

 
 
 
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